Robert Bowen
Robert Bowen
2/11/13 9:54 a.m.

The recipe for the traditional muscle car was simple. Take a plain-Jane, midsized offering and re-engineer it for performance: big engine, big tires and, in many cases, big graphics. That plan of attack gave us a laundry list of tire shredders, most sporting nowiconic badges on their flanks: Oldsmobile 442, Chevelle SS, Plymouth Road Runner and more. Pontiac’s entry into this field was the one that many consider to be the originator of the species: the GTO.
The early ’70s fuel crisis removed most muscle cars from the showroom, but the smaller pony cars continued. After 2002, however, both the Pontiac Firebird and Chevy Camaro were dead, and at the time GM didn’t have a replacement on the horizon.
This meant that GM, for the first time in decades, lacked a midpriced, rear-wheel-drive performance car. Part of the reason was cost—by then the company had exclusively moved to front-wheel-drive platforms for its large and midsize passenger cars, so there was no easy way to share thedevelopment costs that could easily produce a rear-wheel-drive performance model.
The Cadillac CTS chassis was one option, but the large car was designed from the outset as a premium chassis with a premium price tag. Building a less expensive CTS or badge-engineering it into something else would take away some of the prestige that it enjoyed. This left GM without options for a performance car that didn’t steer with its driving wheels.

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GLK
GLK New Reader
1/30/19 9:18 a.m.

Lesson: The used bar of soap school of design works in Australia but never works on muscle cars in America. 

Gearheadotaku
Gearheadotaku UltimaDork
1/30/19 10:16 a.m.

While the styling wasn't the most eye catching, most cars of the era were really ugly. I'm ok with plain. 

Tom_Spangler
Tom_Spangler PowerDork
1/30/19 11:00 a.m.

This is the 05 I had a few years ago:

It was a nice car, pretty quick, very comfy seats, good noises. But it never felt as fast as 400hp should have felt to me, and it is a big boaty thing. I never minded the styling, it was stealthy, but I can see how it held the car back from a sales standpoint.

Appleseed
Appleseed MegaDork
1/30/19 11:10 a.m.

It looked like a regular car, not what everyone thought/thinks a muscle car should look like.

Neither did the 64 GTO.

ShawnG
ShawnG PowerDork
1/30/19 11:12 a.m.

Studebaker Gran Turismo.

Nick Comstock
Nick Comstock MegaDork
1/30/19 11:17 a.m.

In reply to Tom_Spangler :

That's exactly how I feel when I test drove a GTO and a G8. Man, this sure doesn't feel like 400hp.

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